Dear Loyola Parishioners & Visitors:
South Sudan. Prompted by listening to some of the women in our parish from South Sudan last week, I began researching what the Jesuits, US Catholic Bishops, and major Catholic organizations are doing regarding the South Sudan crisis. I was met with enthusiasm and interest on the part of the Jesuits and Catholic Conference and immediately a conference call was arranged.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has been active on South Sudan issues for years and is currently urging the US Government to: refrain from imposing further sanctions as counterproductive; intensify positive efforts to support the implementation of the peace agreement; provide robust funding for humanitarian, recovery and peace building programs; support peacekeeping and conflict monitoring efforts to end the fighting; and, fund efforts to promote dialogue and reconciliation by Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Church and the South Sudan Council of Churches.
The US Catholic Bishops have also written to the Sudan Catholic Bishops Conference for Sudan and South Sudan (SCBC) offering their support and offer of help in response to the latter’s Pastoral Message of February 24, 2017. I have placed about 100 copies of the SCBC statement at the Church
entrances if you would like. Others can google it. The SCBC Bishops wrote, in part:
Our country is not at peace. People live in fear. The civil war, which we have frequently described as having no moral justification whatsoever, continues. Despite our calls to all…to STOP THE WAR, nevertheless killing, raping, looting, displacement, attacks on churches and destruction of property continue all over the country….While some fighting is between government and opposition forces, we are concerned to note that much of the violence is being perpetrated by government and opposition forces against civilians.Our country is gripped by a humanitarian crisis…. Our people are struggling simply to survive…. [T]here is no doubt that this famine is man-made, due to insecurity and poor economic management.We wish to inform all that the Church is not for or against anyone. We are FOR all good things – peace, justice, love, forgiveness, reconciliation, dialogue, the rule of law, good governance – and we are AGAINST evil – violence, killing, rape, torture, looting, corruption, arbitrary detention, tribalism, discrimination, oppression. We are ready to dialogue with and between the government and the opposition at any time.
On June 6, 2017, the SCBC issued another statement expressing their sorrow that Pope Francis was cancelling his planned visit to South Sudan for unknown reasons but “could be due to the above-mentioned challenges the country is undergoing. Nearly everybody is traumatized.” “What to do? What to do?” our South Sudanese sisters are asking themselves. I am asking myself. And, maybe some ofyou are moved to ask yourselves. One thing is clear: we need to hear their stories.